Quick Time: Reviewing the season's top clashes
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
Take a quick lap around the proverbial dirt track with managing editor Todd Turner for a roundup of Dirt Late Model racing through the latest weekend of action along with some other quirks of racing (along with occasional ax-grinding). Quick Time, one of the newest features of our website, will appear every Wednesday at DirtonDirt.com:
Frontstretch: Drivers of the week
National: Don O’Neal made a daring — or some might say overaggressive — pass of Jimmy Owens on lap 85 at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky., to capture Aug. 11’s 30th annual Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100, his Lucas Oil Series-leading 11th victory of the season.
Regional: Dustin Strand of Grand Forks, N.D., a former WISSOTA modified champion, notched his first two victories on the Northern LateModel Racing Association, winning Aug. 9 in Ada, Minn., and two nights later in Jamestown, N.D.
Weekly: Don Smith Jr. of Norfolk, Neb., swept a pair of Limited Late Model features at Wagner (S.D.) Speedway, giving him three in a row and six on the season.
Crate: Tony Gray of Coker, Ala., swept a pair of NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Series victories on Aug. 11 at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Miss.
Turn 1: Top five clashes of 2012
With last week’s North-South 100 fresh in our memory, let’s review five of the most significant two-driver clashes this season:
Dale McDowell-Jonathan Davenport
Dennis Erb Jr.-Jason Feger
Rick Eckert-Mike Marlar
Darrell Lanigan-Clint Smith
Smith’s key quote: "I think he went in there hot and knocked me up out of the way to get the lead back. He knocked me up so hard it put me in the loose stuff and he got back by me.”
Turn 2: Tweet of the week
From a regular DirtonDirt.com contributing photographer and writer:
@MichaelRMoats: I think it's funny how dirt late model fans dog NASCAR drivers, but will flock around them when they show up at a dirt track to race.
Backstretch: No repeat winners
Kyle Peterlin of Hibbing, Minn., won Aug. 10’s feature at Amsoil Speedway in Superior, Wis., making him the 11th different winner in 11 Late Model features this season. Have any other tracks gone this season without a repeat Late Model winner? Or does anyone know of a longer streak without a repeat winner during any season? Send us an email and we’ll see if we can come up with an interesting list.
Turn 3: Remembering Buck
We hope fans unfamiliar with Buck Simmons, the Hall of Fame racer who died Sunday, have learned enough about him from our coverage about him to appreciate his place among Dirt Late Model racing’s greats. Long-time Georgia auto racing writer Rick Minter was around for many of the Baldwin, Ga., driver’s exploits, and he writes about seeing among the last victories of his career. It’s a great column.
Turn 4: Turn back the clock
Five items from this week in Dirt Late Model history:
Aug. 20, 1981: Buck Simmons won at Santa Fe Speedway in Hinsdale, Ill., for one of 11 victories in his championship season on the National Dirt Racing Association.
Aug. 17, 1986: Freddy Smith of Kings Mountain, N.C., won at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind., for his lone career victory on the USAC Late Model circuit.
Aug. 17, 1996: John Gill of Mitchell, Ind., won his second Jackson 100 at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway, staying in control despite Billy Moyer’s tail-to-second run in the caution-free event. "I ain't gonna say 'I'm glad he started on the tail,’ ” Gill said, "but you know, that's just the way it is.”
Aug. 21, 2000: Ronald "Speedy" Hays, a popular car owner who fielded cars at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway and other regional tracks, died at age 59. Among those driving Hays' popular red No. 44 were Hagerstown favorites Denny Bonebrake and Gary Stuhler, who drove for Hays for nine years ending in 1994.
Aug. 21, 2004: Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., led every lap of the unsanctioned Topless 100 at Batesville (Ark.) Speedway for a $43,000 victory, but he had to fight off a few challengers, including runner-up Scott Bloomquist. "There’s nothing easy in racing,” McDowell said, "and this wasn’t either.”
Checkered flag: Five fearless Topless predictions
• A previous winner will make another visit to victory lane.
• Victory Circle Chassis will has as many starters as any chassis builder.
• A Lucas Oil regular outside the top five in points will get a top-five finish.
• A single home-state driver will crack the top 10.
• Even with temperatures in the 80s, someone will think it’s too hot in Batesville.
(Last week: One out of five predictions correct)